Is Your Home as Intelligent as it Could Be? -by Susan LaPlante-Dube

Intelligent Home Sound Video System

Imagine walking in the door at the end of a long day and with the touch of the button being able to disarm the security system, turn on the lights in various rooms, and have your favorite music begin playing throughout the house. Then as you enter your family room for some relaxation, one wireless keypad allows you to adjust the music setting in that room, turn on the television, and begin showing a favorite sitcom that was recorded the evening before. Without a home control system this capability would require a myriad of remotes involving several switches and at least a half-dozen button pushes.
The power of a home control system is in simplifying tasks, according to Catherine Shanahan, president of Shanahan Sound & Electronics, a custom installer in Lowell. "We consistently focus on unification, automation, and remote access," she explains. Shanahan Sound has over fifty years' experience providing full-service, high-quality systems design and installation for religious organizations, businesses, colleges, private residences, and corporations such as in Maynard, Mass.


Many homeowners buy electronics from different manufacturers. There may be a Panasonic television in the bedroom and a Sony plasma in the family room. In addition, televisions, DVD players, CD players, and digital recorders each have a unique interface and a different remote. Home control systems simplify life by bringing all types of electronics together into one unified interface.
Another facet of this simplification is automation. Control systems allow homeowners to automate routine tasks. For example, as the sun begins to set, a sensor can automatically notify a control system to bring down the blinds, turn on exterior lights, and adjust the brightness of indoor lights. Or, perhaps on Friday night, the system can automatically turn on the heat and the jets in a hot tub, to prepare for a relaxing evening.
One consideration for planning a home control system will be what to automate. It is easy to get carried away automating functions in your home; however, there is a fine line between what is sensible and what is over the top. Just because one can automate the pet door to open and close at certain times does not mean it makes sense. Consider more ordinary daily tasks such as turning on and off lights, locking doors, raising and lowering blinds, adjusting temperature, or playing music.

North Shore Magazine - Summer 2005 , Volume 5 Issue 2